How Your Packaging talks to Customers

It’s all about the product right?


Spending hours developing your product can give customers what they want. But your packaging is what will make them pick it up in the first place.

If they don’t select it from the shelf they’ll never enjoy the features you built in.

Here’s a simple test. Think of the last time you purchased a new product. Did you already love what was inside? Perhaps the packaging was the first thing that caught your attention. In that case it was enough to kick start a purchase.

How can you make sure your packaging design is as effective as you know your product is?

  • Size does Matter

You want your product to take up the most place on the shelf right? It means you’ll dwarf other products and you’ll be the winner.

No. If you think this way you’ll lose the battle.

Surprizingly consumers value smaller scale packaging. They don’t believe bigger is always better. Depending on the market you’re in this perception stems from different sources:

  • People hate it when expectation and reality don’t align. Have you opened a large potato chips packet? How do you feel when the bag is only half full? When a company disappointed you once in this manner you won’t purchase it again. Let your packaging give people accurate indications of what they’ll get.
  • People hate wastage. In 2017 people are protective of the environment. If you use large plastic packaging consumers will only think of the harm it brings through littering. Using excessive paper means you’re the cause more trees are cut down. A minimalistic approach usually works.
  • Placing small objects in large packaging can prevent sales. Comparing the two your potential customer may perceive the item as smaller than it really is. This diminishes its value from that perspective.

In all these scenarios balance is key. You won’t always impress your customers with excess.

  • Your Carbon Footprint

The environment was mentioned above. This factor warrants more discussion.

Consider how your packaging influences your environment. Many customers make judgements these days based on eco-friendliness.

I’m not only referring to the substances you use. Mentioning safe ways of disposal shows you value your environment. Using recycled plastic or paper is even better. Your customers’ perceptions of you will improve instantly.

You have to mention these facts on the packaging. Remember to include it in your design work. If you don’t it’s a marketing tool you just lost out on.

  • Colors

I can’t talk enough about colors. It’s a powerful tool that seems to be ignored by many. Are we naïve or simply misinformed?

You can boost your packaging’s impact by applying color correctly. Here’s what you must consider:

  • Each color carries a message. What is the message you want to deliver? Using the wrong color can give your customers the wrong idea about the product or your company.
  • Some colors drive people away. Using these instantly ruins your product sales.
  • You don’t want to be mistaken for a competitor. Certain colors are used often because of their value. How can you still be unique while using these colors?
  • Trick them with Texture

Psychology plays a role in almost every part of life. You’ll love how it can benefit your sales figures too.

You can cross a psychological barrier by simply adding texture to your packaging. Perhaps your potential customer is looking for one more reason to commit to the sale.

Imagine he or she now picks up your product. What does the packaging’s texture communicate?

  • Rough textures are perceived as unrefined. If you’re selling a super computer this is not the message you want to give. It works perfect if you’re selling natural products or organic food.
  • Your product is too valuable to have everyone touch it. But why can’t the package help them imagine holding it already? Let their desire for the item grow by giving the two objects the same texture.
  • Food distributors are well versed in this sales technique. Adding a fruit’s real texture to the exteriors of juice bottles creates expectation. In your brain all senses work together. Feeling a surface that resembles an orange peel will spark a subconscious desire for the taste.
  • The 5 Senses

Because your senses all work together you must consider how to optimize this effect.

This is especially applicable to the food scene.

I often pick up products and smell them. I hope that even sealed products will give me an idea of the product’s taste. If I smell tantalizing flavors that item is as good as bought.

If I produced food products I would add smells to all packaging exteriors. You can do this by leaving vents or adding artificial odors.

  • The Look

Your packaging is a marketing campaign in its own right. All features you usually consider when designing advertisements are important. You know how the visual aspect plays a large role here.

Intense market research is required so you can work with facts:

  • What design styles do your target clients relate with? If your target market prefers antiques above technical gadgets you won’t improve sales with a sleek modern look.
  • Which styles easily catch these individuals’ eyes?
  • What information does your target market require? Your packaging must communicate a solution to a specific need.
  • Will words or images work best? Most customers are lazy to read. Use graphics instead of lengthy paragraphs. Your brain registers images much faster than text. With one glance a potential customer can see how the item functions. Unclear descriptions or too much text can cause someone to put down your product.

All of this happens before your customers even touch your merchandise. Do you put enough effort into being successful in this part of the process?

Why haven’t you considered these features before? When you’re a manufacturer you can be forgiven to misjudge the value of the exterior. I know you’re excited about the products more than the packaging. Now you realize the power of it. Which products in your range will benefit from a makeover first?

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.